Pinching bugs


Number 72 ; March 17, 2010 ; Jeffrey K. Barnes


Pinching bug

Order: Coleoptera
Family: Lucanidae
Genus and species: Pseudolucanus capreolus (Linnaeus)

All life stages of stag beetles (family Lucanidae) can be found in old stumps, decaying roots, and in logs of a wide variety of trees, commonly in moist woodland habitats. Pinching bugs occur in thepinching bug eastern United States. They are large, shiny, reddish brown beetles with lighter, orange-brown femora. They range in size from less than an inch to about 1.5 inches. The male's fearsome mandibles are large, about twice the size of the female's mandibles, and they have a medial tooth about one third of the distance from the apex. When disturbed, males rear back in a threatening display, with head high and mandibles open. However, they can be handled easily because their mandibles have so little leverage that they can only deliver a mild pinch. They can be found hiding under wood debris during daytime, but they become active at dusk and during the early hours of night. They are frequently collected at lights. It is thought that adults feed on tree sap, and they can be kept alive on a diet of sugar water for up to three months. Larvae feed on dead or decaying trees.